“My favorite driver is always either the bad guy or the underdog.” -Bo Jackson.
John Colone has always been in on the joke. In fact, most likely He orchestrated it. Hell, Michigan has not only been the catalyst for many events, and caused some local controversies, but it’s also a place that champions the underdog. Wayward travelers, misfits, survivors, and tourists from all over the world visit this tiny town. There is not only an atmosphere of mischief, but of acceptance. Have crazy colored hair? Welcome. Physically disabled? Welcome. A massive stroke survivor? Welcome. All are welcome, and if you are a misfit of society, all the better. This is because, not only is there no discrimination in the town of Hell, they understand survivors. The struggle is real, and many who populate this place, from tourists to “Hellbillies.” get it. The attitude is refreshing and not often found outside of the borders of Hell. Imagine a place where you are given a chance to do something different, to be who you are, and to succeed. Well, then maybe you should get a job in town, I just did! Yup. After spending countless hours putting my efforts into finding employment the traditional way, at the usual places….. All I had to do was go down the street! Because right around the corner from me, is Hell. Michigan. I considered secretary positions, jobs related to my field of expertise(medical) and technological jobs. However, I ultimately landed in the place I need to be at this time. You know the saying “If you build it they will come?” Well, John built a town based on a punchline and over the years Good Morning America has passed through, Netflix, The Travel Channel, and even Sundance. I suspect all the attention is the result of more than a funny name. Because, just like the charm of a stranger or honey to a bee, Hell has a natural magnetism. An energy that can be better understood if you spend any length of time here. Even more so if you meet the man behind the curtain. If you’d like to check it out more visit http://www.gotohellmi.comor drop by in person and say Hello. Perhaps, I’ll see you there!
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa.
There is a secret to my success besides persistence, perseverance, and an excellent support system. Although those are certainly the main ingredients, there’s a secret one. And here it is. You need to learn how to rebuke! According to its definition, rebuke means; To express sharp disapproval or criticism of(someone) because of their behavior or actions. Who should you rebuke? Well, everyone, or anyone that sets themselves against your forward movement in life. The biggest offenders are….*drumroll please* doctors. I don’t condone avoiding them, but I do condone not letting them have the final word. When you receive a bad report, it is not the final report. Don’t you dare let fear creep in and limit your life according to what they say. If I or my family put an ounce of belief into the doctor’s report, I’d be a total vegetable being pushed around in a chair, suffer from severe fatigue, not recall my Parents faces, and so on. These are just a few of the things that were “supposed,” to happen according to the doctor’s report. Guess what? NONE of them did! Don’t just sit back and roll with a negative diagnosis. That storyline doesn’t have to be part of your book. We all have choices. Therefore, choose to be happy over sad, peace over drama and gossip, calm over frantic, and finally choose life over a report of death. It is death to accept a negative report as fact. While it’s true the sky is blue, it’s actually sunlight being filtered through millions of water droplets that are hanging in the air. You too can be a filter through which only love, health, and happiness come out on the other side. You just have to catch all that junk that tries to settle within you and bring you down. Cheers to no fear!
Life is full of little setbacks, but thankfully there are just as many gains. In 2012 I suffered one major setback. Ever since, through one gain at a time, I’ve been chipping away at what was a huge block in the road. By making the decision to carry on in the face of adversity, and achieving little gains, that block is turning into a pebble. When I first woke up in the hospital I perceived this giant roadblock to be immovable. There was a giant road sign next to it that read “YOUR LIFE ENDS HERE.” -But- I didn’t take into account one important factor. And that factor was, as any physics professor could tell you…. An object of large size is easier to move with a force that’s strong enough to oppose it. In other words, I alone was not strong enough to face the ramifications of the stroke. However, when I had the right group of supportive individuals with me I could better recover. After the fog of confusion and agitation lifted, I was better able to understand my situation. At first, I felt that my life circumstances were insurmountable, but as I continue forward(with a strong support system) I’m discovering that the gains become larger and they happen fairly quickly. Of course, I would LOVE everything to go back to the way it was prior to the stroke in a days time. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day was it? To cultivate a remarkable life you have to go about it in extraordinary ways. There is no shortcut to the finish line. In the end, the best views come after the hardest climb.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Gerard Way.
I’ve been asked on many occasions, how I’ve dealt with a landslide of changes and perceived lossesyet continued to move forward. That’s just it, perception. All of the things that were uncontrollable for me, could happen to anyone, but then again most people don’t have massive strokes in their twenties. As rare as such an event is(thankfully) it’s just as rare to survive it. Besides the initial question of how such a thing could happen, the question became what to do when it does. I have beenattempting to answer that question for the last five years. At firstit was just a matter of survival. While I don’t recall my time inintensive care my family certainly does. They and the medical team were fighting for me at the time. However, now that I’m able it’s my turn to enlist in the battle for myself. As I have steadily made physical and cognitive gains, many people are impressed. However, what they don’t fully realize is that anyone can achieve what I have, including them. There’s a formula.Once I became more fullyaware of what had happened to me I became deeply depressed. Except at some point I knew that I couldn’t let that depression be a road block in my recovery. After all, I was in the fight of my life! When push came to shove, I wasn’t going to let the stroke continue to push me down. Certainly it did while I was still in the hospital. But now,I felt an obligation to getting my life back.It’s funny that after you’ve been railroaded, a great determination is built up in you as a result. I simply usedthis determination to kick some proverbial butt. Along the way I have set some lofty goals for myself. Even if I fail, I will have failedabove other people because I’ve set the bar so high. In the last 1,825 days following my stroke I’ve met and had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing individuals. Besides, the stroke really showing me what I’m made of, it has unveiled a different side of life. The side we often don’t notice and the places we oft ignore. It is in these places I have found beauty, love, friendship, and thankfulness. A lot of the formula boils down to gratitude and acceptance.